Govt issues ban on anti-IEBC protests
Interior Secretary Joseph Nkaiserry has banned Opposition leaders and their supporters from holding demonstrations to push for the removal of the electoral commission.
Mr Nkaiserry cited the destruction of private property witnessed during Monday’s demonstration as the reason for the ban.
The cabinet secretary issued the order in a media briefing on Tuesday attended by Attorney General Githu Muigai, Solicitor General Njee Muturi and Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet at Harambee House.
Mr Nkaissery said the anti-IEBC demonstrations were no longer peaceful demonstrations and it is the responsibility of the government to protect citizens and their property.
COMING FOR BATTLE
“The constitution allows for peaceful and calm demonstrations, but when you see people coming with stones and other weapons then they are coming for war or battle. Those are not demonstrations at all, and the government cannot allow that,” said Mr Nkaissery.
Attorney General Muigai said the constitution protects the right of unarmed and peaceful demonstrators to assemble. The constitution does not protect a rioter’s assembly.
“A rioter’s assembly is a group of persons who have peacefully commenced a demonstration and then become violent and destroy property,” said Prof Muigai.
The ban comes a day after the High Court judge Joseph Onguto had declined to stop Cord leaders and their supporters from holding demonstrations to seek the removal of IEBC commissioners from office.
Hours before Mr Nkaiserry issued the ban, five Jubilee MPs had moved to the Court of Appeal to challenge the verdict that gave the Opposition the green light to hold anti-IEBC protests countrywide.
MPs Ferdinand Waititu (Kabete), Alice Ng’ang’a (Thika Town), Kimani Ichungwa (Kikuyu), Dennis Waweru (Dagoretti South) and Moses Kuria (Gatundu) challenged the verdict saying that there would be no injustice if the protests are stopped.
ERRED IN LAW
Through lawyer Harrison Kinyanjui, they claim that Justice Onguto erred in law and misdirected himself when he ruled that there was evidence of breach but went ahead to rule in favour of Cord.
In their court papers, the MPs claim to have tabled sufficient evidence in their case and accused the judge of exercising his discretion wrongly in dismissing their case and later on saying that demos have a limit.
“The learned judge was unreasonably and inexplicably biased in favour of Cord leaders in his verdict. He erred in law and in fact as he took into account the extraneous matters which he was not called upon to decide,” Mr Kinyanjui said.
The Jubilee MPs also claimed to have incurred costs in advertisements of earlier orders issued by High Court judge Isaac Lenaola which barred the opposition from storming into IEBC offices.
RULE IN FAVOUR
They further faulted the judge for failing to consider that and the fact that Cord Principals Raila Odinga, Moses Wetangula and Kalonzo Musyoka refused to participate in the case yet he proceeded to rule in their favour.
They argued that Cord leaders and their supporters are under the impression that each demonstration they hold and disrupt public order and security will yield the removal of IECB officers from office.
They want the Court of Appeal to issue temporary orders barring Cord leaders and their supporters from intimidating IEBC commissioners in any form.
They also want them stopped from storming into IEBC offices country wide or interfering with their constitutional mandate.
DEFEND THE CONSTITUTION
“It is imperative that our request is granted in exercise of this court’s inherent power for justice to be met since the Jubilee MPs stand to suffer in their fight to defend the constitution for other Kenyans,” Mr Kinyanjui said.
While allowing the opposition to hold protests, Justice Onguto had ordered the Inspector General of Police to ensure security, public safety as well as observance of law and order by Cord leaders and their supporters whenever and wherever they demonstrate pursuant to any notification given under the Public Order Act.
The legislators had argued that the protests had attracted hooliganism and destruction of property but the judge ruled that they had not made out a strong case.